What's so bad about McMansions?

The first thing I always think when I see one of these castle wannabes is, how must does it cost -- both financially and environmentally -- to heat and cool it? How the heck do they furnish it? Why do they want it anyway?

And I have delicious recollections of a seminar earlier this year, at which former Maryland Gov. Paris Glendenning and others predicted a massive population shift from the outer suburbs to inner suburbs, where there's better transportation and access to services.  The McMansions would, they predicted, remain empty, the owners would be unable to afford their mortgages, the banks would take over and, eventually, two and three low-income families would move in, plant massive vegetable gardens and keep chickens and goats in the front yard.

But that's just me. Now, a professor at Ohio State University and his colleagues have studied just what it is many people find so offensive about McMansions. They found that observers particularly dislike the houses when they are more than twice as tall as surrounding homes and "when their architectural style is not compatible with the neighboring homes," according to a report on the study.

Read a press release here.

And find out more about the main researcher, Jack Nasar, here.